• K. ASHINDORBE Department of Communication and General Studies


Leadership, Partisan Polarisation, Presidential Utterances, Unity, Nigeria.


Political leadership requires the ability to communicate well, which propels the realisation of national objectives. This study attempts to establish a nexus between selected incendiary presidential utterances and the heightened ethno-regional tensions and polarisation witnessed currently in Nigeria. The paper contends that in a multi-ethnic and culturally diversified country like Nigeria, strong leadership and appropriate communication skills are fundamental towards achieving unity, conflict management and sustainable development. While Nigerian political elite have since independence conducted public affairs in manners that undermine and betray the country’s unity, at no time has the country been this bitterly divided and polarised. Although the marauding terrorist and banditry that has engulfed the country's northern half predates this administration, the vehement separatist agitations and catcalls for the dissolution of the country in the southern part have become more strident within the life of the current government.  What is responsible for this state of affairs? The study argues that the inflexible/provincial disposition and unguarded utterances of President Buhari is partly responsible. Relying on purposively selected sample texts from newspaper reports and online news medium credited to the President, discourse analysis approach was used to interrogate the potential meaning of such text and their implications for cohesion, unity and peaceful coexistence in the country. The study identified these polarising cues in President Buhari’s utterances: anti-ethnic sentiments, us/them distantiation, gender stereotyping and youth denigration; and demonstrated the impact of presidential communication on a country’s well-being.



Author Biography

K. ASHINDORBE , Department of Communication and General Studies

Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta Ogun State



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